Monthly Archives

June 2020

British Growers News Update

By Industry News

New Flexible Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is changing to allow flexible furloughing from 1st July. As the scheme progresses, it will also involve greater contributions from employers before closing in October. This is an overview of how the scheme will change from 1st July and is based on HMRC’s guidance.

Flexible furlough

  • From 1st July, employers can bring furloughed employees back to work on any working pattern whilst still being able to claim for hours not worked below their regular hours
  • If claiming in advance, employers will need to give the exact number of hours an employee will work during the claim period and will need to pay back some of the grant to HMRC if an employee works for longer than this
  • Employers can also continue to furlough employees full-time, so long as they have completed a 3-week or longer furlough prior to 1st July (see below)

Closure of scheme to new entrants

  • Only those who have been furloughed for a 3-week or longer period by 30th June can continue to be furloughed or be re-furloughed on either a full-time or flexible basis
  • This means that an employee must have been furloughed by 10th June at the latest to qualify
  • The only exception is for those returning from statutory parental leave after the 10th June, providing (a) the employee has been included in a HMRC RTI submission prior to 19th March 2020 and (b) the employer has already made a CJRS claim for at least one other employee)
  • The total number of employees claimed for in a CJRS grant from 1st July cannot exceed the highest total number of employees in any claim prior to 1st July.

 

Bounce back scheme

A ‘bounce back’ plan of trade measures for the agriculture, food and drink industry has been announced to support businesses that have been impacted by coronavirus.

The agriculture, food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and plays a vital role in the UK’s food supply chain. It contributed £121 billion to the UK economy in 2018 and provided around 4 million jobs.

The new measures will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with insight from a wide range of stakeholders.

Sections of the UK agriculture, food and drink industry have been significantly impacted by Coronavirus. Although they have done well to adapt, exports have been hit and the Government is committed to supporting the food industry to get back into international markets and start growing market share once again.

For more information https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bounce-back-plan-for-agriculture-food-and-drink-industry-launched

 

COVID 19 shopping habits – demand for frozen food up 32%

New figures from Nielsen show sales at convenience stores rose by 17 per cent in the four weeks to 13 June. Demand for convenience shopping outpaced overall total till sales in the grocery market (14 per cent) during the same period.

The figures show that overall sales at bricks and mortar grocery retailers grew by six per cent, but online sales grew 115 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Over the last 12 weeks, Iceland (+23 per cent) has outperformed all other major UK grocery retailers, following growth from its new Food Warehouse stores, as well as the surge in consumer demand for frozen foods, which grew by 32 per cent across the industry in the last four weeks.

Sales at the Co-op (+16 per cent) also grew faster than the big-four major UK supermarkets, as shoppers continue to find it convenient to do a larger shop at a local convenience store.

 

Grants of between £500 and £25,000 available to help farmers recover from February floods

A £6 million fund to support farmers seriously affected by February’s floods opened for applications on 18 June.

Eligible farmers and landowners in parts of Herefordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Nottinghamshire and North and East Yorkshire can apply for between £500 and £25,000 under the Farming Recovery Fund to support their recovery efforts.

These grants follow earlier rounds of funding for those affected in the July 2019 and November 2019 floods, bringing the total pot of funding to £10 million.

The Rural Payments Agency has introduced a simplified online portal for the latest round of applications to make it easier for farmers to apply.

For further details about the scheme and information on how to access the funding

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/farming-recovery-fund-extension-2020

Seasonal Veg Campaign

By Uncategorized

SEASONAL VEG CAMPAIGN – PLEASE HELP


With schools, restaurants, and hotels closed good local seasonal vegetables destined for the food services sector is currently going to waste while other veg is in short supply or being imported.
Veg Power has been asked by the Cabinet Office and DEFRA to mobilise an army of food writers, chefs, nutritionists, and other food system influencers to advocate seasonal veg on their blogs, tweets and press activities.
Collectively that network of influencers will reach millions of UK shoppers, and by unifying the message around a simple hashtag (#SeasonalVeg) we can swing people’s choice towards the wonderful veg coming into season, support the frontline food heroes working hard to bring their crops to our tables and save tonnes of good food going to waste.
Seasonal Vegetables
The campaign will encourage all seasonal veg, but we have found that by having a hero veg each week we keep the campaign fresh and the support keeps rolling on. So, for this campaign:


What are we asking you to do?


We are keen to tell the story of these vegetables, to bring the fork a little closer to the farm and recognise the dedication growers are showing in these difficult times. We keen to share images from your farms – the first of the crops coming up for harvest and heading off to our stores, the people, the farms and the produce. We are trying to connect our audience to their food, to feel the passion and quality of in-season British vegetables.
• We keen to coordinate our efforts with relevant crop associations
• Collaborate to support any marketing you have planned
• Find one or two growers for each crop who can help us with a few pictures and stories
Please get in touch: Dan Parker, dan.parker@vegpower.org.uk 07801 550699

British Growers News Update: Covid-19/Veg Power

By Industry News

Quarantine Regulations

With effect from Monday 8th June anyone entering the UK (subject to lengthy list of exemptions) is required to self-isolate for 14 days. Among the list of exemption are seasonal workers who have an offer of employment for seasonal work to carry out specific activities in edible horticulture on a named farm. But even seasonal workers need to complete the Public Health passenger locator form before they travel to the UK and then immediately go to the farm where they are working. Seasonal workers can start work immediately but they must self-isolate on the farm for 14 days. They will then need to follow advice for seasonal agricultural workers coming to England to work on farms.

It’s worth noting that the regulations and exemptions will be reviewed every 21 days to ensure that they remain proportionate and are still justified by the best scientific evidence available.

For more advice on employment of seasonal worker visit.

2-metre social distancing

There is an ongoing debate within Govt about reducing the current 2m guidance on social distancing. Canada, Spain and the UK operate with 2m; Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands operate with 1.5m and Denmark, France and Singapore operate with 1m. Needless to say opinions within Govt are divided among between those that think the infection rate needs to be reduced further and those that argue to re-start the economy. There is nothing concrete to report other than it is under active discussion.

Test and trace

There has been a lot of concern within the wider food industry about the implications of the test and trace system and the impact of people self-isolating for 14 days if it can be evidenced that they have been in contact with someone carrying the virus. The potential for the test and trace system to shut down elements of the food industry can’t be ignored. If anyone has had a negative or positive experience of the test and trace system and want fed back to Govt, please get in touch.

There is an interesting qualification on the definition of contact with an infected person where Perspex screens are used. Where an interaction between 2 people has taken place through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen, this would not be considered sufficient contact, provided that there has been no other contact such as any of those indicated above. This is set out in the test and trace guidance document.

For more information on the test and trace requirements please visit.

 

Government Intervention in Trade Credit Insurance announced

The Govt has announced today that it will provide £10bn backing for the Trade Credit Insurance market via a reinsurance scheme. This requires businesses to buy cover from trade credit insurers as usual, and these insurers will then be able to buy cover for themselves from the Government. The scheme, which covers domestic trade, imports and exports, will be backdated to April 1 and will operate until the end of 2020.

For more information please visit.

 

Veg Power: Seasonal Veg promotion

With schools, restaurants, and hotels closed good local seasonal vegetables destined for the food services sector is currently going to waste while other veg is in short supply or being imported. Veg Power – Seasonal Veg Campaign – Request to Growers has been asked by the Cabinet Office and DEFRA to mobilise an army of food writers, chefs, nutritionists, and other food system influencers to advocate seasonal veg on their blogs, tweets and press activities.

 

What are we asking you to do?

We are keen to tell the story of these vegetables, to bring the fork a little closer to the farm and recognise the dedication growers are showing in these difficult times. We are keen to share images from your farms – the first of the crops coming up for harvest and heading off to our stores, the people, the farms and the produce. We are trying to connect our audience to their food, to feel the passion and quality of in-season British vegetables.

 

Veg Power – Seasonal Veg Campaign – Social Media Brief

Veg Power – Seasonal Veg Campaign – Request to Growers

NFU Petition on Food Standards

As the UK begins to negotiate trade deals with countries around the world, we need all our food to meet the UKs world leading quality standards that consumers have come to expect? Here is the link to the NFU Food standards petition which is calling on the UK government to ensure all food imports are produced to the same high standards required from British producers. Sign the petition.

 

Corona Virus Job Retention Scheme Update (CJRS)

 

On the 29th May the Chancellor announced details of the changes to the job retention scheme beyond June 2020.

 

Closure for new entrants

The Scheme will close completely to new entrants from 30th June. This means that the last possible date you can furlough a new entrant to the scheme is Wednesday 10th June. Although you can bring staff back and furlough them again, from 1st July you will only be able to furlough staff who have already been furloughed for at least three weeks prior to the 30th June.

 

Contribution from employers

Currently the Scheme covers 80% of wages, plus National Insurance and pension contributions. This is changing as follows:

 

June and July: The Government will continue to meet the cost of 80% wages up to a cap of £2,500 as well as employer NI contributions and pension contributions to the auto enrolment minimum.

 

August: The Government will continue to meet the cost of 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 but the employer will need to pay NI and pension contributions.

 

September: The Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50, while the employer will need to pay 10% of wages plus NI and pension contributions.

 

October: The Government will pay 60% of wages up to a cap of £1,875, while the employer will need to pay 20% of wages plus NI and pension contributions.

 

Pay received

The amount of pay received by staff on furlough will not change and will remain at 80% of normal pay for the remainder of the Scheme.

 

Flexible furlough

With effect from 1st July 2020 employers will be able to bring employees back to work on a part-time basis. The time employees are at home will be funded through the furlough scheme, while the time they are at work will need to be paid by the employer at their normal 100% pay rate.

For example, if someone normally works five days a week, they could be furloughed three days a week and be at work two days a week. For the three days they are at home, they will be paid at 80%, reclaimable from the Government through the Scheme. For the two days they are at work, they will be paid in full, funded entirely by the employer.

Employers will need to submit information through the HMRC portal outlining how many hours the employee would normally be expected to work and the actual hours they have worked, so that the correct amount of funding can be claimed.

 

More details about how flexible furlough scheme will work are going to be provided on Friday 12th June.

 

Scheme ending

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will end completely on 31st October 2020, which means employers relying on the funding will need to have made decisions about bringing staff back or made redundancies in plenty of time to have undertaken any consultation or other process necessary before this date.

 

For further information on the scheme please visit.